Sep 7, 2009

MEAL THREE: TRADITION

(menu + recipes at bottom)

Grigori's Bar(n)
The Barn

LISTEN TO MUSIC AS YOU READ...


Meal Three was held in an old barn near MoKs and was structured as a formal dinner that referenced traditional “special occasion” customs. Everyone was asked to dress in white. Tables and chairs were fashioned out of tree stumps and fallen doors, and candles and handmade stringed instruments were installed directly into the surface of the table. Evelyn decorated with beautiful white flowers and fabric. A local band played Estonian and Russian music on accordians, karmoshkas and harmonicas. We dined family style from large platters and bowls in three courses. We sang, danced and drank too much.
chain gang

THE MUSIC >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Harmonicas and reeds were left on the table without any instructions, to occasional adhoc use. The band, 3 accordion/karmoshka players from the village community (Siim, Mörgus, and their mother Ene), as well as Henrik on his harmonica, played traditional songs and led a series of sound actions to organize the evening‘s activities:

1. Silence (environmental listening)
2. Stork Exercise
3. Background and Participatory music
4. Table Chain-Reaction
5. Dance Music

We started with a round of silence to take in the rain that had completely altered our original location setup and complicated our preparations. Inspired by the magical local winged creatures, after the first course everyone was asked to stand up and was guided through a 'stork exercise' - lifting the arms and raising the pitch and volume of their voices accordingly and shaking their bottoms as if settling into a nest. Stimulating the range of the body, using the voice expressively, lightly undoing some inhibitions, breaking ice.

Stork Wing Song Dance
Whoops, and the Flapping of Wings
Helvi stork spirit
Helvi and Stork Spirit

After the second course Siim led a series of table-chain performances, where everyone at the table was asked to make a sound – either with an instrument that had been left on or installed in the table, or with any other sound-making object – in a chain or circle, thereby producing a small impromptu piece.
Throughout the meal the musicians played traditional Estonian and Russian folk songs, which all the local participants seemed to know and sing along with, whether with genuine appreciation or a cheerful and nostalgic rolling of eyes. The music entertained everyone so beautifully that the musicians continued playing songs for several hours.
IMG_4426                         IMG_4424                             IMG_4425
1. Musician scenario             2. Stork Exercise                   3. Chain-Reaction Exercise
+ singing
The musicians, Mörgus, Ene, Siim.
dancin
Dancin'
THE TABLE >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
table
THE FOOD >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
The meal was structured in three-courses. What we served had been largely determined by what produce was in season, like radishes, mushrooms and potatoes, and what we foraged in the village, like rhubarb, nettles and dandelion greens. We referenced traditional foods, like herring and organ meats, and presented them in a new light as "special occasion" foods. Certain ingredients, like quail eggs, we were surprised and delighted to see in so many Estonian recipes and in abundance at the market, and had to find a way to use them. The centerpiece of the meal was a wild boar stew made from meat supplied by a local hunter (see previous post) and garnished with locally foraged chanterelles. All the vegetables and herbs were local, either foraged, from Evelyn’s garden or purchased at the Tartu farmer‘s market. The menu is listed below. Any item with an asterik has the recipe listed at the very end of the post, all others should be self-explanatory.


meal 3 menu
The Menu

prep station
The Prep Station (Originally conceived as a bar.)

COURSE 1
RADISHES W/ SEA SALT + BUTTER
*MARINATED HERRING w/ QUAIL EGG
GREENS w/ EVELYN’S HERBS
*CHICKEN LIVER PATE + TOASTS
Bitter Corsaro w/ Soda + Orange

COURSE 2
*WILD BOAR STEW WITH CHANTERELLES
*BRAISED DANDELION GREEN GRATIN
MASHED POTATOES
HOMEMADE BREAD + *NETTLE BUTTER
NV Corbieres Reserve

DESSERT
*CHOCOLATE SAUERKRAUT-FLAX CAKE WITH EVELYN’S STRAWBERRIES
*Rhubarb or Caraway Infused Vodkas


THE PEOPLE >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

karmoshka! sandy!

emmatt meal 3

Ülle + Ena in barn glow

Jään + Helvi

THE AFTERMATH >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The day after our event folks in the community began re-landscaping the ground directly around the barn. Not sure what is becoming of it. Prior to our project the barn had been abandoned and was one of the main hangouts for local motor-biking teenagers.

Days later, they reconstruct the Bar(n)

Since we‘ve left Mooste, Moks has procured a nice big refrigerator and have begun a garden project to help feed their residents.

RECIPES >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

MARINATED HERRING w/ QUAIL EGG

pickled herring+rye bread+quail egg+dill
Pickled herring on rye bread with quail egg and dill.

Clean herring fillets and cut into strips. Note if they have been preserved in salt or not – if so you will want to lower or eliminate altogether the salt you use to cure the herring. Bring to a boil enough white vinegar (or part vinegar, part water) to cover the herring in a jar. Simmer the liquid and add black peppercorns, a few tablespoons of sugar, caraway, juniper berries, and slices of garlic. Take off the heat after about a minute. Put the fillets in a jar with lots of dill, and cover with the liquid. Marinate in the fridge for at least a day.

To make the crostini, cut small triangles of black bread and spread with butter. Put a piece of marinated herring, half a hard boiled quail egg and a sprig of dill to garnish, and stick the whole thing together with a toothpick.

CHICKEN LIVER PATE + TOASTS

em's chicken liver paté+white bread
chicken liver paté + white bread

Clean and cut the sinews from chicken livers. Sautee garlic and onions with butter, add the chicken livers and brown on both sides. Season with salt and black pepper, then cover half way with good brandy. While the liquid reduces, mince parsley and sprinkle over the pan. Use an immersion blender to blend everything smooth, and add more parsley, seasoning and brandy to taste. Serve chilled with toast – and if you are fancy, put clarified butter over the top of the pate in its serving bowl.

WILD BOAR STEW WITH FORAGED CHANTERELLES

1. Cube the meat. Combine in large pot with carrots, yellow onions, parsley, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns and salt. Cover with red wine and let marinate for 24 hours to tenderize. Remove meat from pot and reserve all the liquid.

2. Chop bacon and crisp. Use the bacon grease to brown the boar meat (it may take several batches depending on the amount of meat you are using). Cover the meat with a couple tablespoons of flour and return the bacon to the pot.

3. Add marinade back to the pot, simmer then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook until tender.

4. While the meat is cooking, bring a pot of salted water to a bowl. Add peeled, chopped small onions and sugar. Simmer until onions are tender, about thirty minutes. Drain.

5. Chop chanterelles and sautee in butter.

6. When meat is cooked, drain from its liquid. Reheat the liquid to medium high and whisk in cognac and butter. Return venison to sauce, add onions and mushrooms. Mix, and serve with parsley on top.

BRAISED DANDELION GREEN GRATIN

Pick dandelion greens. Wash and boil in salted water with a little bit of vinegar. Drain. Make a béchamel sauce and covers several layers of cooked greens with béchamel in an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top and pour heavy whipping cream over the dish. Bake.

NETTLE BUTTER

Pick and clean nettles. Steam to cook and pulverize with an immersion blender. Melt butter over low heat in a saucepan and mix the nettles in. Pour into a jar. While the mixture cools, mix to keep the nettles evenly dispersed. Sprinkle sea salt on top.

CHOCOLATE SAUERKRAUT-FLAX CAKE WITH EVELYN’S STRAWBERRIES

emma making sauerkraut chocolate cake + matt's must leib dough in foreground
Emma Baking Sauerkraut Chocolate Cake

I found the base for this recipe on Nami-Nami, which credited David Leibowitz for the invention. I was seduced by the recipe obviously because of the sauerkraut, which I had in abundance as leftovers from Meal 2. I made two key changes. First of all, I had wanted a dessert with flax as an ingredient, because a key industry in Mooste is the production of flax and linen. Unfortunately, I found very little on the internet to tempt me in this department, as most recipes simply use flax as an egg replacer. I too used flax in this way, but I used original amount of egg whites to keep the cake light plus a little extra flax to get a nuttier flavor. I also abandoned the more complicated ganache called for in the other recipes and made mine from old fashioned butter with chocolate melted in. This is a fairly easy cake to make, in fact the most challenging part of this recipe was finding a cake pan, which I ended up finding in a thrift store in Tartu. The sauerkraut lends moistness the way carrot does in carrot cake – except you don’t even taste it OR see it. And let’s just say: it was delicious. The recipe to follow is in metrics, sorry Americans!

1. Preheat over to 160 C . Rinse 100 g. sauerkraut, drain, chop finely.

2. Measure 280 g. flour, 50 g. unsweetened cocoa, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, and ½ tsp. salt into a bowl.

3. Separately, beat 150 g. butter with 300 g. sugar until light and creamy. Add 1 egg and beat into the mixture. Add 1 more egg and beat into the mixture. Add 1 more egg white and beat in. Mix 2 tbsp. flax seed with 6 tbsp of water separately, then mix into bowl. Beat smooth.

4. Into another bowl, add 1/3 dry stuff, 125 ml milk, another 1/3 of the dry stuff, another 125 ml of milk, the rest of the dry stuff, the sauerkraut, and 1 tbsp. of brandy (the original called for vanilla – you choose). Mix smooth, and pour into a greased baking pan. Bake for 45 min or until a toothpick comes out clean.

5. For the ganache, use the double boiler method to melt copious amounts of butter and chocolate together. Mix smooth, and use a rubber spatula to cover your cake when it is cool.

RHUBARB AND CARAWAY INFUSED VODKA

rhubarb vodka

Infusing is as easy as cutting up some rhubarb and putting it into a thing of vodka, or putting some caraway seeds into some vodka. And it’s so exciting!



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